AN Omagh woman whose ‘life prolonging’ surgery was cancelled fears that Cancer patients are being left behind to provide additonal Covid-19 facilities.
Ann Colton (57) from Omagh was diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer in March, and was heartbreakingly told that the cancer is not curable.
Ann was supposed to have major ‘de-bulking life prolonging’ surgery on October 13 but the operation was cancelled just 15 minutes before Ann arrived in Belfast.
Recently, a number of cancer surgeries have been postponed across the North due to pressures on hospitals as a result of Covid-19.
This week alone, the Western Trust cancelled several cancer operations which were due to take place on Monday and Tuesday.
Ann’s Daughter Penny believes that Covid and its impact on the health service is ‘killing people before their time’ as sick people cannot access the services they need.
“Cancer patients and others who are suffering should have just as much priority as Covid patients,” said Penny.
“People still need urgent hospital care.
“Covid is killing people before their time, but not just Covid itself, but also people like my mother who need their life lengthening operations, but their treatment has been cancelled,” concluded Penny.
It is believed that these surgeries were cancelled to make room for extra Covid19 wards but also due staff shortages as within the Western Trust, 624 staff are currently in isolation.
Joey Kelly, Chairman of Teronmaguirc Cancer Patients Comfort Fund is concerned that the pandemic could create another pandemic within cancer services.
Mr Kelly said, “There has been operations in Belfast and Altnagelvin cancelled because so many staff are off isolating, and the surgeries and treatment can’t go ahead.
“The thing about cancer is if it is caught and treated in time, in 85% of the cases it can be sorted so getting diagnosed and treated in time is essential for patients.
“Our biggest worry for us is people are not going to the doctors at the minute and next year there could be a massive influx of cancer patients.
“We are conscious that the pandemic could create another pandemic within cancer services, and we are worried that people are not going forward to be seen,” said Mr Kelly.